Final Designation of Mallows Bay-Potomac River Sanctuary Expected Later This Year

News Release, Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

ANNAPOLIS, MD—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) entered their Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Final Management Plan for the designation of the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary in Charles County into the Federal Register earlier today. Mallows Bay is set to be the first national marine sanctuary in the state’s history.

“Today, we are taking a very important step forward in the historic Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary designation,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “This continues our commitment to skilled stewardship, and puts us on a path to make this national treasure a marine sanctuary this fall. I want to thank NOAA and Charles County for working with us to craft a responsible agreement to protect our history, and boating and fishing opportunities.”

“Mallows Bay sits on the Potomac River only 30 miles downstream from our nation’s capital and is known for its diverse collection of historic shipwrecks, recreational opportunities, and scenic beauty,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “We are incredibly excited that this unique Maryland treasure is on its way to becoming the first national marine sanctuary in the State of Maryland, and the first new designation in more than two decades, which will allow us to preserve the history and majesty of Mallows Bay.”

The FEIS will contain the environmental impact statement, sanctuary management plan, draft Memorandum of Agreement for joint management of the sanctuary, and the draft Rulemaking. The posting signals the intention by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to designate the sanctuary by the end of 2019.

The next step is for the Final Rulemaking and signed Memorandum of Agreement to be posted to the Federal Register, which is anticipated on or around July 8. Once the Final Rulemaking is posted, that will begin a 45-day review by both the governor and Congress.

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David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...